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Page [NA] of Address to the people of Kentucky on the subject of emancipation

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AIDDRES S TO THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY, ON THE SUBJECT OF EMANCIPATION. FELLOW-CITIZENS: In August next the duty of selecting delegates to the Convention called to remodel the Constitution of our beloved Commonwealth, will devolve on you. You have already been frequently addressed by those in favorof certain proposed reforms, who have not seen fit to urge on your attention the neces- sity of reform in relation to the greatest evil under which we labor. We regard slavery as by far the greatest of all the evils now afflicting the people of this State, and are deeply solicitous that some steps shall be taken toward its gradual removal from among us. It is our present pur- pose to urge you to co-operate with us in the great and good work of Emancipation. We beg you to give us your attention while we proceed to enumerate some of the evils which slavery in- flicts on us, and to point out some of the many benefits which would result from its removal. In proposing to change that portion of the organic law of the State which refers to slavery, we take the ground that slavery is an evil,view- ed in all its aspects-social, moral, political and pecuniary. We cannot name a single interest which we value, and which we would desire to cherish and perpetuate, that would Hot be pro- moted and strengthened by the removal of slavery. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that our sister States, with greatly inferior natural advantages, are outstripping us in pop- ulation, wealth, extent and variety of internal improvements, and in the general diffusion of knowledge. In all those tnmistakeable signs of prosperity which mark the adjacent free States, our State compares most unfavorably; and we but repeat the observation of thousands of unprejudiced observers, in attributing this unfavorable State of things to SLAVERY. We are aware that many of our fellow-citi- zens, who have not examined this subject thor- oughly, differ from us in their views of the comparative progress and prosperity of the free and slave States. Even during the short period that the subject of Emancipation has been un- der discussion in Kentucky, we have seen it asserted "that it is not true that the Northern States have increased more rapidly than the southern," and further, that "National wealth mid prosperity when predicated of the States of this Union," so far as they may be affected by slavery, is "mere loose speculation, not deserrinE a serious answer." We are willing, fellow-citizens, to make this the point on which the decision of this question shall turn. For, if it can be made to appear that slavery is a blessing-if it can he proved to be an element of permanent national wenlth- if it increases public security and private hap- piness-if it elevates the morals, refines the tastes, or develops the resources of a people- then should we at once cease our opposition to it, and labor most zealously and faithfully for its perpetuation and extension. If slavery gives us any advantages which we would not possess in its absence, the advocates of its per- petuation can certainly enumerate them. If the capitalist can invest his money to a better advantage in a slave than in a free State, or if the laborer, the mechanic and the manufacturer can procure higher wages, or hold a more ele- vated position in society in slave States, the facts can easily be shown. When we are asked to perpetuate slavery we can but ask in our turn, what good has it done, and what good does it propose to do When we examine American slavery by the light of history, we find it condemned by large and respectable meetings of the citizens in the slave States before the Revolution. We find the deliberate opinions of such men as Wash- ington, Jefferson, Madison, Henry and Frank- lin recorded against it. Commencing at the Revolution and coming down to our own day, we find a very large proportion of our own wisest legislators and statesmen testifying to its blighting and withering influence. In our own .tate, and in the halls of our own Legislature, , has frequently been characterised in terms of loquent and bitter denunciation. In view then of this concurrent ard united testimony